Punk Heroes D.O.A. Say Goodbye On Latest Tour

As far as Canadian punk bands go, they don’t come much bigger or much better than Vancouver’s D.O.A. Formed in 1978, the group has played alongside some of punk’s biggest names over the course of the past three and a half decades, all the while maintaining their leftist political leanings.

However, all good things must come to an end, and that moment has seemingly arrived for D.O.A.

Their show at The Old Cosmo next Thursday night just might be the last chance for fans to catch the band live as the group’s founder, vocalist and guitarist Joe Keithley, has announced his intentions to seek the New Democratic Party nomination for the riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain in his home province of British Columbia.

Keithley’s move into politics is neither surprising nor new to anybody that has followed the group’s politically-charged music over the last three decades. A long-standing member of the NDP, Keithley feels there is no time like the present to throw his hat into the ring of Canadian politics.

Does this really mean the end of D.O.A.?

“If I am elected, then yes, the next four to eight years of my life will be dedicated to serving the residents in my riding,” Keithley told the Times & Transcript last week. “If I am going to do a good job, it is a full-time job. My objective is going to be to try to effect change, something I have been trying to do for the past 35 years.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be involved in music; I just can’t see touring and recording being on the plate. Maybe I’ll form a jazz combo with some fellow politicians if I’m elected,” he laughs.

As the realization looms that his days of making a living from music, something he has successfully done as a member of D.O.A. and as the head of Sudden Death Records, Keithley is looking forward to the future with a mix of excitement and sadness.

Did Keithley ever expect that he would “retire” from music?

“Let’s face it, I am a middle-aged man that has been traveling and playing music for the past 35 years. I have long said to myself that I would rather spend more time at home with my family and this might very well be the thing to help make that happen.

“The band has our last show in Vancouver scheduled for December. I know that hanging up my guitar won’t be the happiest moment of my career but it is something that I will have to accept should I receive the nomination and am subsequently elected.

“Regardless of what the future holds though, you can’t put a price on the experience. We have always tried to be a progressive band and move ourselves ahead creatively, doing different things over the course of our career. Everybody needs to have fun and not get stuck in a time warp. A lot of people tend to groan about how the music scene in their city used to be better but frankly, if things never changed, the world would be a boring place.”

Keithley promises that the group’s show in Moncton will offer something for old and new D.O.A. fans alike. He says that the group has incorporated four or five songs from its newest record We Come In Peace while also offering classic tracks such as “Disco Sucks” and “World War 3.” Picking and choosing songs to represent every one of D.O.A.’s eras is something crucial to the show as far as he is concerned.

“We are going to be playing songs from each era of the band,” he says. “We perform a bunch of our older songs, some new ones and some in between the those times. We’re very grateful that people are still showing up to hear us play so we want to do our best to send those people home happy with the show we’ve given them.”

Article published in the October 12, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript